Thanks to Climate Central!
Related article: Interactive pictures visualise the threat of global warming
Thanks to Climate Central!
Related article: Interactive pictures visualise the threat of global warming
As one might expect, a sustainable building for the tropics has significantly different boundary conditions compared to a building in temperate areas. A major of available information on green building has not been produced for tropic areas. The different climate conditions may not only influence energy-related issues. Also water, wastewater, solid waste, construction materials, indoor environment and local environment can be a subject. The first thing associated with tropical conditions is an higher outside air temperature or an increased air humidity. Indeed, this are two significant differences. Others, for example, may be the sun path, the user behavior, wind and precipitation patterns or the availability of other building materials.
In order to investigate this topic in more detail the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) School of Design and Environment inaugurated on 19 November 2015 the Centre for Integrated Building Energy and Sustainability in the Tropics (CiBEST). “The establishment of CiBEST contributes directly to Singapore’s vision of becoming a Smart Nation, as smart buildings and facilities are integral to this vision.” Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment, said.
The Centre presently has a team of 36 researchers and is subdivided into two research clusters: Sustainable Buildings and Building Energy Efficiency. The Sustainable Buildings Cluster conducts research in areas such as green and smart building materials and climatic assessment of urban spaces and buildings in a holistic way. The Building Energy Efficiency Cluster develops expertise in the energy efficiency of various types of buildings. To conduct joint research in the areas of data analytics software, building energy efficiency, energy management and Smart Nation, CiBEST signed four Memorandums of Understanding with Keppel Land, Microsoft Singapore, JTC Corporation, and S3 Innovate Pte Ltd.
Mr Tan Swee Yiow, President (Singapore) of Keppel Land, shared, “Keppel Land adopts a proactive and holistic approach in the way we design, build and operate our properties to ensure that they harmonize with the environment as well as enhance the quality of life of the community. Through this research and development initiative with NUS, we aim to enhance overall building performance, including energy management, via data analytics and software development. With the implementation of innovative solutions to create smarter buildings, we strive to build a sustainable future for generations to come.”
There are many proud commuters choosing the bike for their daily duty stroke. Maybe some bike commuters think it aids their concentration, makes them alert in the morning or it is better for their conscience. For sure, some bike commuters think exercise in the morning improves their physical health. In fact, there are not only advantages. There is also a downside. Bike commuters are exposed to multiple air pollutants, in particular in urbanized areas. This information is not completely new. But do you think that the right choice of your route reduces the exposure to air pollution? You think an alternative route is more healthy? Probably, the following information is a bit disappointing for bike commuters.
A new study in Fort Collins tries to appraise how the route selection influences personal exposure to air pollutants. The researchers analyzed the exposure of the following air pollutants: Black carbon (BC), ultrafine particle number concentration (PNC), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). For the study, 45 participants in the Fort Collins area (Colorado, United States) were investigated for a period of eight days. They completed eight days of commuting by car and bicycle on direct and alternative routes with reduced traffic.
The study confirms that cyclists can have a higher exposure to air pollution. A substantially higher intake compared with drivers is the result of their higher minute ventilation. According to the study, cyclists experience higher mean exposures to PM2.5, PNC and BC than car drivers. However, the mean exposure to carbon monoxide is lower for bike commuters. But there is more to it than that: An alternative route can lower the mean exposure. But the duration and route length often neutralise this advantage. A higher ventilation rate can result in a more damaging dose compared to an inhalation at a lower ventilation rate. The longer/alternative route can increase the cumulative exposure even if the mean exposure is lower.
“Longer commute times, regardless of route type, tend to increase cumulative exposures; this difference was especially evident for cycling. Even though cyclists’ mean particulate exposures were reduced on alternative routes, the longer duration of these routes increased cyclist’s cumulative exposures relative to driving.” the authors write.
Finally a short comment for bike commuters. Please don’t use the results as an excuse to choose the car for your way to work. The study says nothing about your commute. The findings are transferable only to a limited extent. However, one may be assured that alternative routes are not necessarily more healthy. And also other factors, like safe bike lanes, play an important role. City planners shall try to consider these findings in the planning of the next cycle paths.
Local authorities can choose between many opportunities to increase their energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and protect the climate. Different kinds of measures, technologies or operative processes are available to achieve positive results. It is not easy to maintain the overview and identify all possible actions. What has been achieved? Where is still room for improvement? How to discover and develop unused potentials?
For this purpose, the European Energy Award (EEA) provides effective support in Europe for many years. The quality management and certification system for regions and municipalities follows a systematic approach in achieving continual improvements in energy efficiency, energy use and consumption as well as climate protection. It supports local authorities to establish expedient planning approaches and implements effective energy and climate policy measures.
End of 2014, 1,346 municipalities are taking part in Europe. The overall population of participating municipalities is about 40 million people. The European Energy Award is proposed to improve and bring recognition of efforts and results relating to climate protection and energy efficiency with a long-term view. It also helps to translate the national goals efficiently into local policy recommendations and offers guidance for municipalities to achieve maximum efficiency in their measures. Energy targets can be identified, defined and achieved within the structured EEA process.
To improve the energy sustainability and climate protection, six spheres of activity are covered. This includes mobility, internal organisation, cooperation and communication, supply and disposal, buildings and facilities as well as development and spatial planning strategies. An external advisor supports participating municipalities and offers organisational and technical support throughout the process. EEA advisors are qualified energy consultants which are accredited by the national EEA organisation.
Certified municipalities can use of the award for local marketing purposes. It encourages other municipalities to take part and drive forward climate protection. The active members of participating countries are Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Italy. Pilot countries are Ukraine, Romania and Morocco. The smallest participating municipality is Chamios and the largest is Cologne. The European Energy Award originates from Switzerland and is organised on an international, national and local level.
The entire EEA process includes the following steps:
Step 1: High level commitment
Step 2: Energy team formation
Step 3: Initial energy review
Step 4: Energy policy programme
Step 5: Project implementation
Step 6: Auditing
Step 7: Certification and Award
Similar to other management systems, the European Energy Award is based on a continuous improvement process. Every four years the activity programme will be evaluated and adjusted. The evaluation is carried out with a standardized catalogue which consists 79 climate and energy measures. Every measure can be awarded with a certain number of points. The amount of achievable points depends on the degree of implementation of a measure. The relationship between the achieved points and the total number of achievable points of the 79 measures leads to the degree of fulfilment. At least 50 percent of the achievable points are required to get certified with the European Energy Award. A municipality is certified under the European Energy Award Gold with at least 75 percent or more of the achievable points. Appropriate incentives to drive forward climate protection and energy efficiency measures. The system is comparable with building certification programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Green Star in Australia.
The focus is often on electric cars when it comes down to improve the environmental compatibility of our transport system. Of course, there are much more cars on our roads than, for example, motorized two-wheel vehicles. About 200 million two-wheelers are in use worldwide. Most of them are in South-East Asia. Several electric motorbikes have been launched from different producers in the recent years. And more will of course follow.
In 2016, Gogoro, a technology company from Taiwan, will launch its Smartscooter in Europe. The European rollout of the innovative electric scooter follows the commercial rollout in Taipei mid of 2015. This was announced at the international motorcycle and scooter show in Milan (Italy).
For this purpose, Gogoro will open a so-called Gogoro Experience Boutique in Amsterdam in the first half of 2016. Other cities in Europe will follow. There, prospective customers can learn about the Gogoro Smartscooter through a gallery demonstrating technology, craftsmanship and other things. “Amsterdam is widely considered a forward thinking global leader in smart city innovation and we are excited to be welcoming Gogoro to Amsterdam as a participant in Amsterdam’s Smart City Experience Lab and as Gogoro’s first European market,” said Ger Baron, CTO at the City of Amsterdam.
The Gogoro Smartscooter and the Gogoro Energy Network were introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show beginning of 2015. It is the first electric two-wheel vehicle with swappable batteries. The Gogoro Energy Network is the associated charging station for the rechargeable batteries. Stations can be found with an App or online. The smartphone also warns the driver if the status of the battery drops to a level where it needs to be recharged. The supplier of the battery cells is the Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic. The batteries are not the property of the Smartscooter owner. A fee for a temporary use has to be paid by the owner. It includes unlimited battery swaps and roadside assistance.
Changing the two batteries under the seat can be finished within six seconds. A few simple steps are needed – Open the trunk, grab the two empty batteries, put them in any empty slots in the station and place two charged batteries back in the Smartscooter. It is faster than filling it up with petrol. And it is much more convenient than charging an integrated battery with a charger cable. Who likes to wait a long time to ride again?
With an acceleration of about 4.2 sec (0-50 km/h), a max. speed of 95 km/h, a riding range of about 100 km per battery swap and a gross weight with two batteries of 112 kg it is possible to drive with zero emissions, provided that the batteries are charged with emission free electricity.
Taipei City (Taiwan) is the pilot market for the innovative scooter. “Taipei City and New Taipei City are taking a progressive approach to city planning and smart city urbanization,” said Horace Luke, co-founder and CEO of Gogoro. “The positive impact of this renewed effort for high-performance electric vehicles in the greater Taipei market will be felt for generations and will be a global example for what the private and public sectors can accomplish when they work together for the greater good of citizens.“ New Taipei City made a strong commitment to embrace technology and become a globally recognized leader in smart urbanization.
Consumers in Taipei can benefit from the Gogoro’s partnership with Taipei City. They can use the subsidy pool for electric vehicle purchases, a large network of the charging stations and the preferred electric vehicle parking throughout both cities. “Gogoro is a key element in New Taipei City’s plan to realize its potential as an ever growing smart city,” said Shen Hsien Chen, Deputy Mayor, New Taipei City. “We are working closely with Gogoro to build a smart energy distribution infrastructure that integrates with our new energy sharing program to give our residents a greater sense of well-being.”
Until November 2015 Gogoro sold close to 2,000 Smartscooters and deployed nearly 90 charging stations across Greater Taipei.
Gogoro was founded in 2011. Gogoro intends to enable the transformation of megacities into smart cities. The aim of its founders is to deliver consumer innovations that will improve use and distribution of energy in high populated cities. Horace Luke und Matthew Taylor are the two founders of Gogoro. They previously worked for the Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC.
Smartscooter is a convenient alternative to electric vehicles with integrated batteries. It is also a green and quiet alternative to conventional vehicles. Nevertheless, some questions arise. Is the owner bound to the batteries provided by Gogoro and its future user fees? Or are there alternatives? Integrated batteries of conventional electric cars can be charged with electricity from the domestic mains supply. What can be done if there are not enough charging stations provided by Gogoro?
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